|9-61.100||Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—18 U.S.C. § § 2311-2313|
|9-61.111||Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—Prosecution Policy|
|9-61.112||Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—Prosecution Policy|
|9-61.113||Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—Prosecution Policy|
|9-61.114||Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—Notification Requirements|
|9-61.200||National Stolen Property Act—18 U.S.C. § 2311, 2314, and 2315|
|9-61.210||National Stolen Property Act—Prosecution Policy|
|9-61.244||National Stolen Property Act—Securities|
|9-61.300||Theft From Interstate Shipment—18 U.S.C. § 659|
|9-61.500||Counterfeiting and Forging of State and Corporate Securities—18 U.S.C. § 513|
|9-61.510||Counterfeiting and Forging Securities—Prosecution Policy|
|9-61.600||Bank Robbery and Bank Larceny—18 U.S.C. 2113|
|9-61.601||Bank Robbery—Disclosure of Information|
|9-61.610||Bank Robbery—Prosecution Policy|
|9-61.670||Bank Extortion—Charging Policy|
|9-61.700||Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Statutes|
|9-61.710||Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Offenses—Policy Considerations|
9-61.010 - Introduction
This chapter focuses on the law and policy relating to the investigation and prosecution of motor vehicle theft, stolen property offenses, thefts from interstate shipments, fencing, counterfeiting and forging of state and corporate securities, and bank robbery. The Criminal Division's Office of Enforcement Operations (OEO) has supervisory authority over all offenses in this chapter except bank robbery. The Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Criminal Division has supervisory authority over bank robbery.
9-61.100 - Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—18 U.S.C. § § 2311-2313
Title 18 U.S.C. § 2312 makes it an offense to transport in interstate or foreign commerce a motor vehicle or aircraft, knowing it to have been stolen. The receipt, possession, sale, or disposition of a motor vehicle or aircraft which crossed a state or United States boundary after being stolen, with knowledge of its stolen character is an offense punishable in 18 U.S.C. § 2313.
Federal criminal jurisdiction also extends to a variety of other motor vehicle theft related activities. These include altering, removing or obliterating motor vehicle identification numbers, (18 U.S.C. § 511), trafficking in motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts with altered, removed or obliterated identification numbers (18 U.S.C. § 2321); and the exportation or importation of stolen motor vehicles, off-highway equipment, vessels and aircraft (18 U.S.C. § 553). See JM 9-61.700.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has investigatory responsibility for auto theft and aircraft theft-related offenses, including violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 511, 553, 2312, 2313, and 2321.
9-61.111 - Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—Prosecution Policy
Consistent with available resources, organized ring cases and multi-theft operations of motor vehicles involving an interstate or foreign aspect should be Federally investigated and prosecuted. To the extent possible, the investigation and prosecution of this type of professional criminal activity should be conducted in coordination and cooperation with State and local authorities. If the State or local authorities are unable to prosecute the jointly investigated cases, Federal prosecution should be undertaken insofar as is consistent with available resources.
[cited in JM 9-61.710]
9-61.112 - Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—Prosecution Policy
Except as precluded by JM 9-61.113, individual interstate and foreign motor vehicle theft cases involving exceptional circumstances may be considered for Federal prosecution if the local or State authorities are justifiably unable to institute a successful prosecution. Because of various other Federal prosecutive priorities, only a portion of the individual theft cases involving exceptional circumstances will qualify for Federal prosecution. In determining whether "exceptional circumstances" justifying Federal prosecution are present, the following examples may be considered illustrative but not exhaustive:
- The stolen vehicle is used in the commission of a separate felony for which punishment in the local courts would be expected to be less than for the Dyer Act offense;
- The stolen vehicle is demolished, sold, transported or exported to a foreign country, heavily stripped or grossly misused;
- An individual steals more than one vehicle in such a manner as to form a pattern of conduct; and
- The stolen vehicle is a heavy commercial vehicle or construction or farming equipment, such as a tractor truck, a farm tractor or a bulldozer.
In addition to the above exceptional circumstances, because of an aircraft's normally large monetary value and its ability to be used to commit other serious Federal criminal offenses, such as drug smuggling, each interstate or foreign transportation of a stolen aircraft should be judged for possible Federal prosecution based on its own individual prosecutive merits.
[cited in JM 9-61.114]
9-61.113 - Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—Prosecution Policy
Except in situations where 18 U.S.C. § 5001 (surrender of youthful offenders to State authorities) is to be utilized or there are indications that organized ring activity may be involved, Federal process should not be filed against an individual, regardless of local prosecutive decisions, in the following instances where a stolen motor vehicle has been transported in interstate or foreign commerce:
- Cases involving joy-riding;
- Cases in which the individual to be charged is a juvenile (i.e., under 18 years of age); and
- Cases in which the individual to be charged is at least 18 but less than 21 years of age and cannot be defined as a recidivist. A "recidivist" for purposes of this policy is a person who has on at least two prior occasions been arrested for motor vehicle thefts and on one or more occasions has been convicted for motor vehicle theft or another criminal offense.
[cited in JM 9-61.112]
9-61.114 - Motor Vehicle and Aircraft Theft—Notification Requirements
When Federal prosecution is declined for an individual Dyer Act violation, the Assistant United States Attorney making such decision shall notify the investigative agency of such decision and the reasons therefor. The Assistant United States Attorney shall also advise the investigative agency if "exceptional circumstances" were present in the matter. See JM 9-61.112. In addition, the Assistant United States Attorney shall remind the investigative agency of the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 5001, if such may be applicable. The Assistant United States Attorney shall request the investigating agency to notify the appropriate local authorities, including the appropriate local prosecutive office where a prosecutable case may be present, of his or her prosecutive determination, and shall request, in those situations involving exceptional circumstances, to be notified by the investigative agency as to what prosecutive action is being undertaken by the local authorities. If the local authorities do not prosecute a matter involving exceptional circumstances, the investigative agency shall so notify the Federal prosecutor. Upon receipt of such notification the United States Attorney should review the matter in accordance with these guidelines, the present caseload of his or her office, the availability of witnesses and the sufficiency of the evidence, and the agreements and understandings reached as a result of the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee for his or her District to determine whether Federal prosecution is warranted.
[cited in JM 9-61.710]
9-61.200 - National Stolen Property Act—18 U.S.C. § 2311, 2314, and 2315
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has investigative jurisdiction for the stolen property offenses set forth in 18 U.S.C. §§ 2311, 2314 and 2315. The Office of Enforcement Operations of the Criminal Division has supervisory responsibility over offenses arising under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2315.
[updated January 2020]
9-61.210 - National Stolen Property Act—Prosecution Policy
Prosecutions under the first two paragraphs of 18 U.S.C. § 2314 and the first paragraph of 18 U.S.C. § 2315 should be governed by the same factors that determine whether other non-governmental thefts or frauds (e.g., mail frauds or wire frauds) should be prosecuted Federally. See JM 9-43.000 and 9-43.300. The $5,000 jurisdictional threshold figure, originally adopted in 1934, was selected to limit Federal involvement to significant cases. If the $5,000 figure had been indexed for inflation the comparable value in 1996 would be approximately $60,000. These figures are cited in order to provide a historical perspective for these sections. Of course, violations involving less than $60,000 should be prosecuted Federally where the situation warrants.
The monetary figures are more important when considering prosecution under the "falsely made, forged, altered and counterfeit" securities provisions of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2315 which do not require any specific monetary amount to invoke Federal jurisdiction. However, prosecutive judgments under all provisions of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2314 and 2315 should be balanced. Although the "forgery" provisions permit Federal jurisdiction for one forged security, prosecutive discretion should be exercised in favor of those instances where there is some compelling reason to bring the matter in Federal courts. Hence, with regard to forged, falsely made, altered, or counterfeited securities under 18 U.S.C. § 2314 or § 2315, the Department's position is that such offenses are primarily within the purview of State law and should be prosecuted by State authorities where feasible, even though the requisites of Federal jurisdiction under the Act are present. However, Federal prosecution is recommended where particularly appropriate, as where the broad scope of defendant's activities (e.g., interstate "paper hangers") suggests a need for Federal investigative facilities or appears to render inadequate the punishment brought in conjunction with other Federal charges, or where successful State prosecution appears unlikely or the State fails or refuses to entertain prosecution.
[cited in JM 9-61.510]
9-61.244 - National Stolen Property Act—Securities
The Department takes the position that a stolen or fraudulently obtained credit card is not a security within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2311, 2314, or 2315.
9-61.300 - Theft From Interstate Shipment—18 U.S.C. § 659
Thefts from interstate shipment should be prosecuted under Federal laws where: (1) there is difficulty in establishing venue for State prosecution; (2) the thefts are systematic or widespread; (3) another related Federal offense is charged against the defendant; or (4) Federal prosecution would be advantageous to the administration of justice, such as in the detection, prevention, or prosecution of crimes generally. Major theft cases and cases involving repeat offenders should be given priority attention under 18 U.S.C. § 659. Since theft from interstate shipment is a concurrent jurisdiction offense, prosecutive agreements with State and local law enforcement authorities are appropriate.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has investigative jurisdiction for offenses committed in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 659. The Office of Enforcement Operations of the Criminal Division has supervisory authority over offenses committed in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 659.
[updated January 2020]
9-61.400 - Fencing—Prosecution Policy
Unless there exists a special need, priority should be given to the prosecution of fences as opposed to the prosecution of thieves. For purposes of this subchapter, "fences" are defined as those who are alleged to have assisted in finding or dealing with more than one buyer for stolen property. Highest priority should be given to the prosecution of fences who operate legitimate businesses and sell stolen property to the public.
When preparing indictments against subjects involved in the redistribution of stolen property particular attention should be given to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. §§ 659, 2312, 2313, 2314, 2315, 2321, and the RICO statute (18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq.) where the fence operates through a legitimate business.
[updated January 2020]
9-61.500 - Counterfeiting and Forging of State and Corporate Securities—18 U.S.C. § 513
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has investigative jurisdiction over offenses committed in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 513. The Fraud Section of the Criminal Division has supervisory authority over offenses arising under 18 U.S.C. § 513.
9-61.510 - Counterfeiting and Forging Securities—Prosecution Policy
Since 18 U.S.C. § 513 considerably expands Federal criminal jurisdiction over non-Federal securities that are counterfeited and forged, its constitutional basis may be challenged. Accordingly, for constitutional and policy reasons, several factors should be present before Federal jurisdiction is exercised under this provision.
First, the extent of the criminal activity should be sizeable and involve significant past or future interstate activity. Second, in regard to the counterfeiting of State securities, there should clearly be an interstate aspect. Third, common sense must be used, not only to sustain the constitutionality of this important provision, but also to control the number of cases filed in Federal courts. The general prosecution policies set forth in JM 9-61.210 relating to cases under the National Stolen Property Act should be applied to 18 U.S.C. § 513 offenses. Finally, as to the "implement" provision in subsection 513(b), such implements should bear some connection to State or corporate securities.
In short, the major responsibility for dealing with counterfeit and forged State and corporate securities should lie with State and local governments. In utilizing 18 U.S.C. § 513, the Federal government will be in the best position to defend against constitutional challenges if the statute is applied only to fact patterns clearly showing large-scale organized interstate criminal activity. In addition, each United States Attorney should develop prosecutive understandings concerning the counterfeiting and forgery of State and corporate securities with State and local authorities through the district's Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee.
9-61.600 - Bank Robbery and Bank Larceny—18 U.S.C. 2113
Title 18, section 2113 of the United States Code is the Federal criminal bank robbery statute. Section 2113 outlines and defines prohibited criminal conduct vis-a-vis federally protected financial institutions and concomitant penalties.
Investigative jurisdiction for bank robbery is vested in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Organized Crime and Gang Section has supervisory responsibility over violations of 18 U.S.C. § 2113.
9-61.601 - Bank Robbery—Disclosure of Information
Department of Justice personnel should not release information concerning amounts of monies taken in any bank robbery until it becomes a matter of public record by virtue of the return of an indictment or other charging document. See media guidelines in JM 1-7.000 et seq., 28 CFR § 50.2.
9-61.610 - Bank Robbery—Prosecution Policy
United States Attorneys and the Special Agent-In-Charge (SAC) of the local field division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) should meet with their State and local counterparts to arrive at a proper allocation of investigative and prosecutive resources for bank robberies being committed in their respective districts. It continues to be Department policy to reduce Federal involvement in the bank robbery area, and make deliberate progress toward maximum feasible deferral of bank robbery matters to those State and local law enforcement agencies which are prepared to handle them. However, no case should be deferred in favor of State/local investigation or prosecution where the state/local law enforcement authorities will not adequately handle it.
9-61.670 - Bank Extortion—Charging Policy
The first paragraph of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) makes criminal the obtaining or attempting to obtain bank property by extortion. The typical bank extortion arises where, by telephone call or other communication, an extortionist conveys a threat to a bank official, and instructs the bank official to deliver bank funds to a specified "drop site," away from bank premises. Thus, many extortions involve no face to face confrontation. Because the bank robbery statute includes extortion and attempted extortion, the Hobbs Act should not be charged in such cases.
9-61.700 - Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Statutes
The Office of Enforcement Operations of the Criminal Division has supervisory responsibility for motor vehicle theft and theft prevention related offenses, including violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 511, 511A, 553, 2321 and 2322. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has investigative jurisdiction over the civil penalty provisions in 49 U.S.C §§ 33114 and 33115 relating to a manufacturer's or importer's failure to comply with passenger automobile theft prevention (parts marking) standards required under 49 U.S.C. § Chapter 331 and implementing regulations. NHTSA also has investigative jurisdiction over civil penalties, under 49 U.S.C. § 33115, applicable to owning and operating a "chop shop."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has investigative jurisdiction over criminal offenses relating to altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers (18 U.S.C. § 511), unauthorized application of theft prevention decals (18 U.S.C. § 511A), trafficking in motor vehicles and parts knowing that identification numbers have been removed (18 U.S.C. § 2321), and operating a chop shop (18 U.S.C. § 2322).
The United States Customs Service has investigative jurisdiction over the importation or exportation of stolen motor vehicles (18 U.S.C. § 553), as well as the civil penalty provisions in 19 U.S.C. § 1627a relating to importing or exporting stolen motor vehicles. The Customs Service also assists the NHTSA in the enforcement of the regulatory provisions applicable to importers of foreign manufactured vehicles.
[updated January 2020] [cited in JM 9-61.100]
9-61.710 - Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Offenses—Policy Considerations
Criminal offenses relating to altering, removing, or obliterating motor vehicle identification numbers, trafficking in motor vehicles or in motor vehicle parts having altered, removed, or obliterated identification numbers, operating a chop shop, and exporting or importing stolen motor vehicles are governed generally by the Department's prosecutive policy under the Dyer Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 2311 to 2313). See JM 9-61.111 through 9-61.114. Each United States Attorney should develop prosecutive understandings on these criminal offenses with State and local authorities through the district's Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee.